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1755.] ST. CLAIR'S EXPLOSIONS OF wrath.
kinds of cattle, and carry away the horses, burn the houses, &c.; and that if the French defeated them, by the delays of Pennsylvania, he would, with his sword drawn, pass through the province and treat the inhabitants as a parcel of traitors to his master. That he would write to England by a man-of-war; shake Mr. Penn's proprietaryship, and represent Pennsylvania as a disaffected province. He told us to go to
the general, if we pleased, who would give us ten bad words for one that he had given."
The explosive wrath of Sir John, which was not to be appeased, shook the souls of the commissioners, and they wrote to Governor Morris, urging that people might be set at work upon the road, if the Assembly had made provision for opening it; and that flour might be sent without delay to the mouth of Canococheague River, "as being the only remedy left to prevent these threatened mischiefs." *
In reply, Mr. Richard Peters, Governor Morris's secretary, wrote in his name: "Get a number of hands immediately, and further the work by all possible methods. Your expenses will be paid at the next sitting of Assembly. Do your duty, and oblige the general and quartermaster if possible. Finish the road that will be wanted first, and then proceed to any other that may be thought necessary.
An additional commission, of a different kind, was intrusted to George Croghan. Governor Morris by letter requested him to convene at Aughquick, in Penn
* Colonial Records, vol. vi., p. 368.
sylvania, as many warriors as possible of the mixed tribes of the Ohio, distribute among them wampum belts sent for the purpose, and engage them to meet General Braddock when on the march, and render him all the assistance in their power.
In reply, Croghan engaged to enlist a strong body of Indians, being sure of the influence of Scarooyadi, successor to the half-king, and of his adjunct, White Thunder, keeper of the speech-belts.* At the instance of Governor Morris, Croghan secured the services of another kind of force. This was a band of hunters, resolute men, well acquainted with the country, and inured to hardships. They were under the command of Captain Jack, one of the most remarkable characters of Pennsylvania; a complete hero of the wilderness. He had been for many years a captive among the Indians; and, having learnt their ways, had formed this association for the protection of the settlements, receiving a commission of captain from the Governor of Pennsylvania. The band had become famous for its exploits, and was a terror to the Indians. Captain Jack was at present protecting the settlements on the Canococheague; but promised to march by a circuitous route and join Braddock with his hunters. "They require no shelter for the night," writes Croghan; "they ask no pay. If the whole army was composed of such men there would be no cause of apprehension. I shall be with them in time for duty."+
* Colonial Records, vol. vi., p. 875.
Hazard's Register of Penn., vol. iv., p. 416.
CAPTAIN JACK AND HIS BAND.
The following extract of a letter, dated August, 1750, gives one of the stories relative to this individual:
"The 'Black Hunter,' the 'Black Rifle,' the 'Wild Hunter of Juniata,' is a white man; his history is this: He entered the woods with a few enterprising companions; built his cabin; cleared a little land, and amused himself with the pleasures of fishing and hunting. He felt happy, for then he had not a care. But on an evening, when he returned from a day of sport, he found his cabin burnt, his wife and children murdered. From that moment he forsakes civilized man; hunts out caves, in which he lives; protects the frontier inhabitants from the Indians; and seizes every opportunity of revenge that offers. He lives the terror of the Indians and the consolation of the whites. On one occasion, near Juniata, in the middle of a dark night, a family were suddenly awaked from sleep by the report of a gun; they jump from their hut, and by the glimmering light from the chimney saw an Indian fall to rise no more. The open door exposed to view the wild hunter. 'I have saved your lives,' he cried, then turned and was buried in the gloom of night.”—Hazard's Register of Penn., vol. iv., 389.
WASHINGTON PROCLAIMED AIDE-DE-CAMP-DISAPPOINTMENTS AT FRED
ERICKTOWN-BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND BRADDOCK-CONTRACTS-DEPARTURE FOR WILLS' CREEK ROUGH ROADS THE GENERAL IN HIS CHARIOT-CAMP AT FORT CUMBERLAND-HUGH MERCER-DR. CRAIK -MILITARY TACTICS-CAMP RULES-SECRETARY PETERS-INDIANS IN CAMP-INDIAN BEAUTIES-THE PRINCESS BRIGHT LIGHTNING ERRAND TO WILLIAMSBURG—BRADDOCK'S OPINION OF CONTRACTORS AND INDIANS-ARRIVAL OF CONVEYANCES.
GENERAL BRADDOCK set out from Alexandria on the 20th of April. Washington remained behind a few days to arrange his affairs, and then rejoined him at Fredericktown, in Maryland, where, on the 10th of May, he was proclaimed one of the general's aides-decamp. The troubles of Braddock had already commenced. The Virginian contractors failed to fulfil their engagements; of all the immense means of transportation so confidently promised, but fifteen waggons and a hundred draft-horses had arrived, and there was no prospect of more. There was equal disappointment in provisions, both as to quantity and quality; and he had to send round the country to buy cattle for the subsistence of the troops.
BRADDOCK AND FRANKLIN.
Fortunately, while the general was venting his spleen in anathemas against army contractors, Benjamin Franklin arrived at Fredericktown. That eminent man, then about forty-nine years of age, had been for many years member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and was now postmaster-general for America. The Assembly understood that Braddock was incensed against them, supposing them adverse to the service of the war. They had procured Franklin to wait upon him, not as if sent by them, but as if he came in his capacity of postmaster-general, to arrange for the sure and speedy transmission of despatches between the commander-in-chief and the governors of the provinces.
He was well received, and became a daily guest at the general's table. In his autobiography, he gives us an instance of the blind confidence and fatal prejudices by which Braddock was deluded throughout this expedition. "In conversation with him one day," writes Franklin, "he was giving me some account of his intended progress. 'After taking Fort Duquesne,' said he, 'I am to proceed to Niagara; and, having taken that, to Frontenac, if the season will allow time; and I suppose it will, for Duquesne can hardly detain me above three or four days: and then I can see nothing that can obstruct my march to Niagara.'
Having before revolved in my mind," continues Franklin, "the long line his army must make in their march by a very narrow road, to be cut for them through the woods and bushes, and also what I had heard of a former defeat of fifteen hundred French, who invaded the Illinois country, I had conceived some doubts and some fears for the event of the campaign;